Consumer groups applaud decision to bring transparent labeling to alcohol products
A new rule from the U.S. Treasury Department's Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will require clear, transparent ingredient labeling on all alcoholic beverages. The move comes as consumer groups have put pressure on TTB to take action to ensure consumers have accurate information about what is contained in alcohol products for consumption.
Based on evidence that alcohol is a significant source of empty calories and increases the risk of certain cancers, alcohol use disorders, traffic accidents, and severe injuries, a 2003 petition by a trio of consumer groups specifically called for listing the amount of alcohol and calories per serving, the percent alcohol by volume, the serving size, the number of standard drinks per container, and other needed information to make fully informed drinking decisions. These consumer groups also petitioned for an ingredients listing on all alcoholic beverages, something that is a standard feature for other food products and particularly important to those with allergies or other chemical sensitivities.
The recent ruling from TTB takes action on this petition and will require clear labeling in order to promote ingredient transparency.
Advocates immediately applauded the measure:
“This is a groundbreaking day for consumers,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League. “Consumer advocates have been trying for 19 years to get this far. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel. We thank the TTB for finally taking this action and look forward to working closely with the agency, the industry, and other consumer advocates to make sure this is done right and that consumers are the winners.”
“All we have requested over these two long decades is the kind of information that consumers expect when purchasing other foods and beverages,” said Peter Lurie, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “We hope TTB can move quickly on this long overdue action.”
TTB has agreed to issue proposed rules requiring standardized alcohol content, calorie, and allergen labeling on all beer, wine and distilled spirits products. TTB also agreed to begin preliminary rulemaking on mandatory ingredient labeling.
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